Cultural engagement

Celtic Connections on Campus, GCU’s annual celebration of the cream of emerging student talent on stage and behind the scenes, kicked off a year of cultural events and activities in January.

In partnership with the world’s biggest Celtic music festival, the concert series attracted hundreds of music lovers to a week of lunchtime concerts to hear performers from across the UK, supported by GCU’s BSc Audio Technology and BSc Audio Systems Engineering students.

Winter came early when we were chosen to display an enormous Game of Thrones embroidery commissioned by the phenomenally successful show’s producers and created by The Embroiderers' Guild. The magnificent five metres by four metres needlework depicts an iconic three-dimensional scene from the show and was created over 5000 hours by 140 guild volunteers. Our links with the guild date back 12 years.

Scotland’s Makar and GCU Cultural Fellow Professor Jackie Kay MBE FRSE celebrated the life of our Chancellor in Annie Lennox, an enchanting poem commissioned by GCU in honour of the installation of our Chancellor. Professor Kay read the moving tribute at a ceremony in July.

Taggart star and GCU Cultural Fellow and honorary graduate Blythe Duff donated her scripts from the iconic detective show to our archives. Students from our MA TV Fiction Writing programme will be able to access scripts from 95 episodes to support their studies. The scripts are also to be made available to the public alongside a treasure trove of material amassed by Blythe, including books, press cuttings, photographs, awards, and rare memorabilia from the much-loved Scottish series, which ran for 27 years and was screened in more than 80 countries.

TV Fiction Writing students also celebrated the 10th anniversary of the groundbreaking postgraduate programme. Honorary graduate David Hayman hosted a celebration at which he was joined by industry luminaries and alumni including Lorna Martin, who this year became the first graduate to devise and write her own series, Women on the Verge.

Graduates of the programme have gone on to work on some of the most popular long-running shows on British television, including EastEnders, Casualty and Holby City, and have also diversified into film, books and theatre.

And actor and honorary graduate Gary Lewis recorded the words of Robert Climie, a conscientious objector imprisoned for his beliefs during World War One, captured in a letter to his daughter preserved in our archive.

We added Coffee, Cake and a Concert to our repertoire in November, inviting Royal Conservatoire of Scotland pianists to perform at an inaugural event that brings the music and legendary café culture of Vienna to the campus. And our student Brandon Stein entertained graduates and their guests on the piano before November’s ceremonies. Brandon rocketed to fame playing the young Elton John in John Lewis’ celebrated Christmas commercial.